The availability of your servers, and the websites and web applications you host on them, can be critically important. If you generate income from a blog or charge subscription fees for your web application, downtime can have a severe impact on your bottom line. Using an availability monitoring tool can help you rapidly detect and resolve service disruptions, thereby mitigating the impact on your web sites and web applications.
Assessing Your Needs
Not everyone needs to monitor the availability of their server. For example, if you use your Linode to host a personal picture gallery website for friends and family, the occasional service interruption probably won’t bother you. The small inconvenience of your website going offline for a few minutes doesn’t justify the time it would take to set up and configure an availability monitoring tool.
If you depend on your website or web application for your livelihood, an availability monitoring tool is practically a necessity. Once set up, the tool actively watches your servers and services and alerts you when they’re unavailable. You’ll be able to troubleshoot the problem and restore service as quickly as possible.
Whether you use one virtual private server or dozens of them, mission-critical servers and services should be watched by an independent monitoring tool that can keep tabs on their availability. The tool should have an automated method of detecting service-related incidents and be able to notify you via email, text message, or SMS. That way you’ll know that a server or service is down within minutes of it having failed.
Finding the Right Tool
There are several different availability monitoring tools available. Your decision should be based on how many servers you’ll be monitoring:
- Multiple Servers: If you run more than one server, Nagios makes an ideal monitoring tool. This free and flexible framework makes it possible to keep an eye on a broad range of infrastructural components and network services. After installing the Nagios server and client packages, one Linode will act as the primary server to monitor the other servers.
- Single Server: If you only run a single server, you might want to use a third-party service to monitor your Linode. (You could install Nagios, but if your server goes down, Nagios will go down with it.) You could also use a network diagnostic tool like MTR to diagnose and isolate networking errors.
- Linode Longview: Longview is Linode’s own monitoring and graphing service. It offers real time data that can be used to help identify system issues. Using Longview in conjunction with a notification service like Nagios can help you to identify issues faster, and get your system up and running sooner.